Thursday, July 31, 2014


If you had been peering over my shoulder this past week, you would have taken in these aspects.

Let me show you around!

Living Wall  on campus

At a cultural festival in Vancouver, some Hungarian dancers in a huddle.

A student-made poster I spotted in the halls of the local school.

My usual summer arrangement.  This year, in a different hue.

Charlotte (aged 3.5) in a moment of inspiration.

Monday, July 21, 2014

It's All in the Family

I've dedicated some time to a long-neglected project around our place: re-vamping the art that hangs on our walls.

I'm so busy making and designing for others, that I'm sad to say our own walls are not what they could be!  But we're well on our way to changing all that.

The general mood I've been wanting to create in our living space is energetic (in an inspiring way, not a frenetic one) and fun.

One project I've had in mind for a while is based on simple pattern theory, which I planned to subversively personalize.

Here's how it turned out in the end:

I had this whole print completed in a couple of hours, start to printed version!

I started with a simple stamp pad and paper.  Our little girl started us off, patterning her index finger print in a daisy pattern.

We each took a turn; Mr. Hausfrau finished the pattern with his fingerprint...

This was the final work, exactly as I'd hoped for!

From here, I got busy with some digital imaging tricks.  After scanning our "family fingerprint flower", I quickly altered the hue, size and placement of the original, creating a unique and very meaningful piece of art.

Since we framed and hung the creation, our kids have been taking delighted ownership in the making of this.  They recognize their prints and ours, and love to tell the story of how we made it together to anyone who cares to listen!

So satisfying to be able to say I helped make something for US for a change!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Children's Literature - Summer 2014

We noticed the last time we were at our local public library that the children's librarian had put many new titles-for-summer on display.

The first is one I love for it's vivid, wordless storytelling - a classic that I've re-discovered, really.  Anno's Journey by Mitsumasa Anno follows a traveler who is journeying through rural Europe on horseback.  It is a gorgeous mix of  "find and seek" (Anno and his horse are hidden on each page) and exquisite illustration of provincial towns.  My children delighted in each page, recognizing the goings-on of small-town life instantly.

We also borrowed a book that was new to us: Walk this World, illustrated by Finnish Lotta Nieminen.  Vivid, urban and relevant, this picture book of the world almost doesn't need a storyline.  There are many, many flaps the children can lift, discovering the similarities and the differences of cities all over the world.  I'm planning on giving this book as a gift to the next friends who have a's a classic in the making!

I feel we are well on our way to creating a very memorable summertime this year, with a stash of compelling children's books at the ready for some open-air storytime together!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


A view through my lens, these past few weeks:

I got a jar of homemade granola from a friend this week.  Perfect with the coconut yogurt I'm currently addicted to!

Mr. Hausfrau and I celebrated eight years of marriage!  We had dinner in the most marvelous Victorian dining room.

Painting...always painting...

While on a tour of the legislature, the grand ceiling.

Our children played at the playground.  We got a break on the lawn.

What is the prettiest sight you've seen recently?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Canadiana Chic

I recently got to work on a really unique project when an interior designer contacted me to work on some quintessentially Canadian subjects for a very stylish lakeside cottage in Ontario.

It was so much fun thinking about characters identified with Canadian culture.  We are tied up with our natural surroundings, with hockey, the climate and seasons, the history that built our was really a deep pool to search for characters in!

In the end, I settled on these: The WWII Nurse, The Mountie, The Hockey Player, and the Woodsman.

Canadian Cottage Decor - available at Hilltop Hausfrau

I was so pleased to hear that the designer loved them so much, she decided to move them into the central area of the cottage sitting room.  I had them printed quite large and expedited them to her for framing.  So fun!

I'm pleased to offer these as prints as posters, canvas and porcelain tile too!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Inherit the Earth

Way back before we started a family, Mr. Hausfrau and I would go on weekend morning hikes together and talk about things like whether or not we had all the ingredients for the champagne butter sauce to go on the sea bass we were making for a dinner party the next day.

Nowadays, we spend morning hikes with our two littles looking for fairy houses and wondering whether a raccoon family might live in this specific burrow or not.

Sharing our love of nature with our children is effortless and inevitable.

We hope they carry the memory of these hikes in their hearts forever, just like we will. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Study in Symbolism

I recently had the privilege of teaching a class to explore symbolism through art.

The most obvious inspiration for me as a West Coast Canadian was to look to regional aboriginal art and the symbolism they weave into their storytelling, illustration and sculpture.

Feathers are particularly common in the art of the Haida people. The middle vein in the feather symbolizes the path that everyone walks in their life time, and every barb that comes off of the middle vein symbolizes the choices we all have in life, and that every choice we make is attached to the middle or main path that we take.

I introduced symbolism in this way for the class, and we started thinking about how we wanted to depict our own lives and the lives of our family members as represented by feathers while I handed out the project materials.

Here's how we did it!

First, we drew our own free-hand feathers on white cotton with waterproof black fineliners.  I provided some feather varieties as an example.

Using a variety of water-soluble mediums, we shaded in the "paths" our lives had taken...

With a small amount of decoupage high gloss finisher (we used Gesso) and a brush, we coated the entire illustration in order to stiffen and seal the fabric feather.

Once they were dry (only took about a half an hour...enough time for a glass of wine and a chat!), we easily cut around the outline on the feathers.

If we hadn't outlined the feathers earlier, or found we had lost too much structure or definition in the stiffening process, we added definition with a water-resistant fineliner now.

Positioning and mounting our textile masterpieces was the final are some completed projects:

Thanks to all the participants for coming to the class and sharing your personal, respective journeys for the day.  Our focus on symbolism was a beautiful and strengthening experience for everyone!
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